Conformational Analysis of Clostridium difficile Toxin B and Its Implications for Substrate Recognition
by Rebecca Swett, G. Andrés Cisneros, Andrew L. Feig
Clostridium difficile (C. difficile) is an opportunistic pathogen that can cause potentially lethal hospital-acquired infections. The cellular damage that it causes is the result of two large clostridial cytotoxins: TcdA and TcdB which act by glucosylating cytosolic G-proteins, mis-regulation of which induces apoptosis. TcdB is a large flexible protein that appears to undergo significant structural rearrangement upon accommodation of its substrates: UDP-glucose and a Rho-family GTPase. To characterize the conformational space of TcdB, we applied normal mode and hinge-region analysis, followed by long-timescale unbiased molecular dynamics. In order to examine the TcdB and RhoA interaction, macromolecular docking and simulation of the TcdB/RhoA complex was performed. Generalized Masked Delaunay analysis of the simulations determined the extent of significant motions. This combination of methods elucidated a wide range of motions within TcdB that are reiterated in both the low-cost normal mode analysis and the extensive MD simulation. Of particular interest are the coupled motions between a peripheral 4-helix bundle and a small loop in the active site that must rearrange to allow RhoA entry to the catalytic site. These extensive coupled motions are indicative of TcdB using a conformational capture mechanism for substrate accommodation.
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